For decades, the world has responded to the need for mobility options for those with disabilities with the introduction of all kinds of wheelchairs. From the first wheelchairs that were essentially re-purposed wheelbarrows, to the high-tech mobility scooter we see on our streets today, there is no denying that, while it may have been an arguably slow process, we really have come on leaps and bounds. However, with medical advancements and technological improvements running alongside it, is it really such a surprise? To celebrate the mobility scooter and what it can do for those of us with limited mobility, we’ve decided to take a look at the history of the much-appreciated vehicle.
The First Scooter
While most historians will tell you that the first mobility scooter came about in 1968, the truth of the matter is that there was actually an attempt to create such a vehicle back in 1954. An American company called Sears, during that year, began to sell a three-wheeled, large-seated contraption that was marketed as an electric wheelchair. In actuality, this was essentially the first mobility scooter, but after sales never took off, it was deemed a commercial flop.
Then, in 1968, a plumber by the name of Alan R. Thieme from Michigan, USA, invented a much more advances mobility scooter. This scooter was given the name of “Powered Operated Vehicle” and was created to give a member of his family who was suffering from multiple sclerosis the ability to get around once more. It could travel at around 3-4 miles per hour, and when people began to catch wind of this device, the requests for more started to roll in.
Sales were slow to begin with, but demand grew with every passing year, and so Alan found himself producing more and more mobility scooters for consumer use. Today, Alan’s brand and company is still making mobility scooters – under the Amigo brand in the US!
What Do We Have Today?
Since the initial creation of the mobility scooter, the concept is one that has been adopted all over the world. Every year, new models are released with better comfort, tech, ergonomics and so much more to make a ride on one of these vehicles so much more comfortable. If you’re a user of mobility scooters yourself, you’ll have noticed over the years that they have become so much more streamlined, lightweight and agile and with increased ease of transportation of these scooters, limited-mobility users can get further than ever. The prices are reasonable too, as the technology and materials used are much more widely available than ever before.
You might also be interested to know that the UK is at the forefront of mobility usage in Europe, with more being used here than anywhere else in Europe. Even with the brand starting in the USA, usage and production has picked up all over the world, making accessibility and ease of movement better than ever for those who need it.
What Could The Future Look Like?
In the past few years alone, technological advancements in the mobility industry have been incredible. On an environmental level, mobility scooters happen to be one of the only purely-electric vehicles in wider use, which is something that governments are taking note of as far as environmentally-friendly movement is concerned. While mobility scooters are currently primarily intended for use by those with limited mobility, the technology that runs these amazing machines could open up eyes to the potential of a much greener future.
Whether mobility scooters will be the future of green transport in the future has yet to be seen, but there’s no denying that so far, they’ve done pretty well for themselves. The availability and affordability of these vehicles is making accessibility for disabled and limited mobility citizens so much more widespread and easier to gain, and that, in our eyes, is a job well done.